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Dear John, I Love Jane: Women Write About Leaving Men for Women Paperback – October 19, 2010

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

There are plenty of coming-out stories on the market, important but familiar tales of women who knew from childhood that they were "different" and the ways in which they forged their own paths in a heterosexual world. The women in this refreshing anthology come from a different angle entirely. After decades of heterosexuality--frequently perfectly fulfilling--they meet a woman who turns their world upside down. Initially shocked--am I gay? Or is it just her?--they experience a shift in identity that is as welcome as it is unexpected. Some of their husbands and boyfriends are supportive; others are not. Some of the women are still with the woman who prompted the change; some are with another, or in an open marriage with men, or still exploring their identities. All speak of occupying a strange place on the spectrum of sexuality: "I won't insult my past self by saying I was in denial or confused. I am a textbook example of the fluidity of sexuality," writes one contributor. These stories are often funny, sometimes heartbreaking, and always brave as they reveal an often-overlooked arena of sexuality. (Nov.) (c)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Seal Press (October 19, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1580053394
  • ISBN-13: 978-1580053396
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 5.5 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #358,208 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

47 of 51 people found the following review helpful By RRR on October 19, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In "Dear John, I Love Jane" those of us who came out later in our lives, and especially after serious relationships with men (and often after having children), have found a place where (as editor Candace Walsh puts it) we could find "retreat that involved a tall stacked-stone fireplace and tumblers of shiraz."

I wanted to connect. But the lesbians I met were not like me. They were Gold Star, they were kids, they had played both sides and were just deciding. They'd always known. In this book I found women like me. I appreciated their stories that shared SO MANY elements with my life. They were honest. They helped me be so as well. They said the things out loud that I was still afraid to say. They used exact terms that floated through my head over these past three years. They described feeling powerful, and feeling lost. They cried over missed events with children, or never looked back on their marriages. Most of them had been with men they described as "good, loving, kind, understanding." They had been in relationships with their best friends. But still they needed to leave. Needed to explore and understand the turmoil inside of them.

I wish I had this book when all this started. Or maybe I don't. Maybe you do need to find some of these things out for yourself. In any case, the book is here now. And it gives a loud and strong voice to women who find their truth in a variety of ways. I didn't always agree with the "hows" but I strongly identified with all the "whys."

The writing is varied and runs from easy and conversational to more disjointed prose. Some of the stories flow effortlessly to a joyous conclusion - some end in pain, and give the impression of one foot in the past, one in the present. Not a great way to live, but very much part of the process.
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36 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Tiffany on November 12, 2010
Format: Paperback
After realizing that my best friend did not seem happy in her marriage or her life and seemed to be becoming more disconnected with me, after 30 years of friendship, I knew that something was wrong and that it was time to confront her. I did so. When she first told me that she was gay and had been living a secret life for the past year, I was shocked, angry and felt betrayed. I looked at her and saw us as friends for so many years. How could she not realize that although I am happily married and have kids that her being gay would not make any difference to our friendship or my opinion of her. She is my best friend. After speaking with her at length over several lunches, I learned a lot about her struggles and anguish that she had been experiencing. Hopefully, my unconditional support helped her to not feel so isolated and ashamed, for no reason. When I found out about this book, I went to buy it and read about other women who had left men for women. After reading the poignant stories in this book, I believe that it will help straight women understand the feelings,emotions, difficulties and ultimate triumphs of women who come out and leave the conformity of relationships or marriages with men to find their true happiness.
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Elle on December 28, 2010
Format: Paperback
At 47, after 13 years of marriage to a man, and a life lived completely straight, I was suddenly and inexplicably attracted to a woman. I was sure I'd lost my mind, or was at least having the worst mid-life crisis on record. I frantically, desperately searched for stories of other women like me: women who had always been straight - truly straight - and had only ever been attracted to men. I wasn't secretly gay, nor was I carelessly disregarding life-long lesbian urges. I scoured my history, but recalled no crushes on female teachers or confusing attractions to my college roommates. I was straight. I'd simply always been a girl who only liked boys. So, what was happening to me, now!?!

My research turned up little. I felt completely alone in my experience with no point of reference until Dr. Lisa Diamond's "Sexual Fluidity" Sexual Fluidity: Understanding Women's Love and Desire was released in 2008. Diamond's book reads like the long research paper it is, but her findings were a relief. For the first time, I knew there were other women like me! Yet, Diamond's book gave me only tiny glimpses into the lives of women who have loved men, but now love women. I desperately wanted to know how other women navigated the transition from straight to lesbian. "Dear John, I Love Jane" gives voice to these women. The stories are recounted by smart, brave women who listen to their hearts and somehow find the courage to pursue the love they most desire. They are honest and unapologetic. Remarkably, all are incredibly gentle with the boyfriends, husbands, children, parents, friends and colleagues who journey with them. These are women I'd like to have as friends.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Kristi on August 30, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The stories in this book made me laugh, brought me to tears, and inspired anger - over and over again. Its not every day that you can read a bunch of well-written shorts by women who led lives with men, then switched to women, happily. There were no stories of women who chose women and then "saw the light" and went back to men. These are stories that show the anguish of living, loving, and growing with a man - all the while feeling something missing inside. These women fill the void with the love of another woman, which is no easy feat. Every happiness comes with a price. I can relate to these ladies more than I can in stories where the characters have only ever had relationships with women. Thank you so much for giving me something so powerful and enlightening, something I can relate to on the deepest of levels.
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